Friday, September 23, 2011

Returning to the City of my Birth ... with my Birth Mother

About nine years ago, I spent a weekend with my biological mother and aunt in the city of my birth. We picked the city because it was a half way point between my aunt's home and mine; my mother flew in from out-of-state and met us both there. I had my two-year-old daughter with me as well. It happened to be an especially difficult time in my life; I was going through a painful divorce and was parenting on my own. I was extremely sleep deprived, and perhaps as a result, my memories of the weekend are not especially crisp. I can tell you that we ate in restaurants, browsed a museum or two, and all shared one hotel room, but what mostly stands out in my mind from that visit is the hospital.

The hospital that I was born in is on hill, visible from various points in the city, and it seemed that everywhere we went, there it was. I didn't grow up in that city, and my mother didn't stay there either. She had only come there during the last part of her pregnancy, after she had begun to show, to hide out in a cousin's apartment until I was born. The city wasn't our city, but there was that hospital, hovering above us throughout the weekend, a reminder of the one event that linked us to the location. 

Being reunited in adulthood with a biological family that you didn't grow up with is a bit like suddenly acquiring a new sense, or an aspect of a sense. For example, I recently read about a woman who (through vision therapy) acquired the ability to see in 3D after not being able to do so for most of her life. She described how amazing it was to experience the world in this new way as an adult.  Being with my biological family is a bit like that for me. I am more keenly aware of "relatedness" than I presumably would be if I had always known genetic mirroring. That weekend in the city of the looming hospital, I experienced that heightened sense of awareness together with the strange sensation of coming full circle.

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